Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Willy Man Update

  Since it has been some time since I shared what was happening with William and Archie I figured I will dedicate a post to them both sharing their updates.  William and I have had quite the roller coaster summer, but at the cusp of the riding season things seem to have all come together and are now going quite well.

  Once we moved I made a plan to really get going with William and work through his scooting/bucking issues so we could actually accomplish something.   This was a great plan at first but William had other things in mind.  I tried several different saddles landing on the close contact majorly hunter Crosby I usually show Ace in.  The least stickable saddle of course on the horse that is trying to get me off the MOST.

 Things were going ok – we were walking and trotting sort of after working on the lunge, then William began with some major head tossing.  I had him in a Mylar which now I realize was much too strong.  I switched him to a straight bar rubber snaffle and that seemed to take care of that issue.  A new issue popped up, probably the most frustrating one I have ever experienced.  I would mount William and then he would flat out refuse to move.

  No matter what I did, kicked, pushed, hit him with the whip, turned him, clucked, begged, pleaded….NOTHING would get him to move.  I would usually wait it out for about 10 minutes and then he would take a step and start shuffling like he was going to buck me off.  We continued this for about 20 minutes around the ring until he finally gave up and then would carry on normally.  I was beginning to feel very defeated.  I didn’t know if I needed to send him to a trainer (which I can’t afford), if he was having physical issues, give up entirely, or if I just needed to persevere through it.

right after he ripped my eventing calendar in half...bad pony!

  I made the mistake of asking CoTH whom I normally adore, for advice.  I got ripped apart from many posters there regarding my lunging technique,  and the fact that they read back on my blog and saw the accident William had in the spring.  I tried to defend myself explaining that everything was %100 fine with William physically but it fell on mostly deaf ears.  Between the attacks on my horsemanship skills there were a few good posts there who gave me some advice that did indeed change the course of things for William and I. (Post titled "My Horse Won't Move Once Mounted" if you care to read the thread).

 One piece of advice I took away; I started carrying a whip at all times.  I took a lesson almost immediately with Daphne and she explained the horse is simply confused.  He has no idea what is going on up there or what I am asking and we need to teach him the very basic aid of – Stop – and – Go.  We worked our whole lesson on walk – trot – halt – transitions.  It also was important to learn that William is a very slow learner compared to Archie, but once he learns something it is there and there is no need to keep relearning it.  He is very good that way.

  I felt much better after my lesson with Daphne.  She told me he was an extremely nice horse and would be capable of upper lever dressage with good training.  I continued to work with William at home and although he tried many new tricks; backing up continuously, bolting, spooking, running off, I only had to correct them a few times and he has never tried them again.  He has even learned to stand perfectly still while mounting (another piece of advice I learned on CoTH for the difficult mounter).

  He had an abscess for 2 months in the summer which set him back, but upon healing went back to work better than ever.  I learned that he probably did have a bit of discomfort, being possible his rib was out.  I did some research on this and he fit the description to a T.  Girthy, unwilling to move forward when saddled, taking a weird stance, and crow hopping under saddle.  In order to help the problem the vet advice I read involved chiro, stretching, lunging before riding and riding the horse correctly over their back.  I began stretching William twice a day and I would lunge him for a just a few minutes beforehand each ride.  The improvement in him has been ten fold.

Growing boy.
  The journey has not been without struggle or pain.  I was thrown off him a few times this summer.  Once from a big spook and spin at a bunny jumping out of the woods, and another when he gave a first class effort over a cross rail and I failed to be prepared, thus thumping on his back and him dumping me in disapproval. I learnt my lesson.

 We are now at the point where can work on going properly, without worry of bucking and spooking.  We cantered our first fence a few weeks ago and have attended our first dressage show together (at my farm).  I had a lesson with Daphne last month and another last weekend.  We even trotted my entire grasshopper cross country course!  I am really hoping to be able to compete him next summer.  His sire just won the award from the American Trekhaner Association for 2012 the top Eventing Stallion, I am dreaming of him following his success.  Until next summer we will continue on working and improving.  Taking the horse that everyone thought “couldn’t”, and showing them, he "can".  A video of our progress at the end of the post.

At our show...our costume of "Rock Star"

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I'm on Ace on the left.
  My horsey friends and I have this ongoing joke.  We call ourselves, Team Tyendinaga Eventing.  Sounds normal enough right?  Well, Tyendinaga is the area near us all, that is a Native Reserve.  It is what I call "mini Las Vegas".   It is known as one of the "richer" reserves in Canada.  In Tyendinaga you can find big neon signs, cheap gas, bags of smokes, and lots of supped up beaters.  I truly mean no offence to the Native people of Tyendinaga.  I like the Natives, hell, my Great Grandmother was supposedly some famous Native woman.  I named my farm the Native word for Spirit; "Catori".   One of the founding members of TTE studies Native culture and works with Child Services within Native Communities.  This is not meant as anything derogatory towards the local Natives, just a laugh we have at our own expense when we compare ourselves to the rich amateurs and pros we see out eventing every weekend.  We belong, in Tyendinaga.

  We ride $1000 or free horses.  

  Our tack doesn't match.

 Our horses wear ripped and tattered blankets over their new blankets to protect them.

 We never stable over causing us to get up at 2:30 am in order to make it on time, since we can't afford hotels or horse sitters.

  We drive in trucks that squeak with dents in the side.  They need repairs on a daily basis. 

 We train with each other, catching lessons where we can.

 We drink beer after cross country.

drinkin a beer

 We wear the wrong number to cross country and get yelled at by Olympic riders.

  We are the talk of the horse show along the guard rails.

  We fall off when we should still be in the tack.

  We get lost on the way to clinics and show up an hour late.

....the list goes on.  

BUT, and there is a BIG BUT.

  Our horses are unbelievably healthy and happy.

  Our horses are amazingly talented and envied.

  Our horses win year end awards and dazzle spectators.

  We work hard, we play harder.

And most importantly,


Team Tyendinaga is not just a saying, it's a way of life.

 I leave you with TTE schooling this summer.  Plenty more videos to come this winter....


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Full House

 Read em' and weep... 

 Stupidly, after purchasing Liam I continued to peruse the local horse ads.  Facebook being the killer, with so many “Give an OTTB a home” Pages…I was constantly having my will power tested.  I saw a posting for a mare as a giveaway, she was 3, and unraced.  Needed a new home asap.  I figured, what the hell?  I contacted the current owners and arranged a time to see her.  She was 3 hours away but close to where my mom would be showing that weekend so I thought I could kill two birds with one stone.  Go and try the mare and hit my moms show on the way back.  Good plan right?

  She was at a lovely farm that was just holding the Thoroughbreds who were looking for homes after their retirement from the track.  The farm owners daughter works at the track and her and her friend get the unwanted horses and take them here until they can be rehomed.   The mares name was Maggie and she was adorable.  A tiny fine little chestnut mare that was superbly quiet.  We took her in and tacked her up, she didn’t put a foot wrong.  I walked her around the ring and then mounted.  She did an adorable walk/trot and over trot poles.  She was very green but also very very quiet.  A really nice girl, would probably succeed as a hunter.  With a free price tag she was bound to find a great home if I didn't take her.

  There were several other Thoroughbreds there that the owner showed me, and as we went to the last paddock....there he was.  A BIG beautiful bay with a huge white star shaped of Africa on his forehead.  My heart jumped into my chest.  I got that feeling….uh oh…I know that feeling.  Horse Love At First Sight.  I got that with Archie, and here I am again with this beautiful creature staring at me and all I can think is I need this horse in my life.

  I go in and take a closer look.  She tells me he is 4 and that he was a great racehorse but he has a terrible crack in his foot that they are not sure can be repaired.  I take a close look, it is bad.  It runs from his coronet band to the bottom.  He has two shoes on barely hanging there.  He was just delivered to the farm recently and was in desperate need of some foot TLC.  On closer observation, it appears he also has a bowed tendon. UGH, why!  He appears sound, which is kind of astonishing with his foot.  I take a mental image and tell her I will be in touch if I want either one.  Then the internal debate begins...

  I heard from his track groom (the girl who took him from the track and owns him) that he did indeed have a bow.  It was only a month old and that he was never lame on it.  She said it was barely there in racing terms.  I felt a little better, most bows cause severe lameness for quite some time.  I did a lot of reading about hoof cracks and bowed tendons.  I decided I am crazy because despite all this I knew this horse was going to come and be a part of Catori Lane.  He just belonged with me.

  A few weeks later we went to pick him up.  I named him Parker, it just seemed to fit.  My friend had actually taken Maggie so we travelled together and loaded them up.  They both walked right on the trailer and seemed to handle the 3 hour journey well.  Parker came home and fit right into the herd.  I had the farrier out and we have done some extensive repairs on his foot and it is looking much better.  There is hope that we can get his foot to grow out normally.  Regardless, he is completely sound.

I plan on giving Parker time off until next summer when I can ensure his feet and his tendon are %100.  There is no rush for me.  He is such a big handsome boy and has the loveliest trot.  I am really excited to ride him someday, although the wait is kind of killing me! Hopefully he will be another eventer in my barn.  In the meantime, he just enjoys his day on the farm with the other boys, and his nightly pampering in his stall. 

That is the final horse to join our family, Oil Be Clever.  I know...I'm a sucker for a long face.

  It just so happens that the lady who raised Parker has contacted me and would like to arrange a visit.  Excellent, I love meeting the people who have been involved in my horses lives.  Bonus...we have become Facebook friends and with this I have access to all of his baby pictures!!!  Something I never get to experience...sooo excited.  I will definitely be sharing those adorable moments in the future!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Little Liam

 Right before we moved, while we still at my parents, I came across an ad in the local horse classifieds.  I know, why even torture yourself looking at those.  Well that was my first mistake.  I saw this picture of an adorable little Appaloosa weanling.  Exact picture is here;

Liams sale ad....adorable!!

 You probably don’t know this, but I LOVE Appaloosas.  My first event pony was an Appy mare and she was an absolute superstar.  I started on an Appy when I first took riding lessons.  I have been obsessed with them ever since.  Their even temperaments, reliable coolness, perfect form and boldness over fences, and of course the best part – the spots.

  I decided at that moment that this little man would be the perfect little pasture pal for William and Archie. 2 is a good number of horses but 3 is better.  That way if one leaves the property the other is not alone.  I figured a baby would be ideal because they are less work and cheap to feed.  Well, so I THOUGHT.

  This little guy had already been to a show as a weanling.  He is a registered Appy and showed on the Appy circuit here in the weanling on the line and won his class.  He had already been bathed, clipped, trailered, stayed overnight, and competed on the line before he was a yearling.  You can’t really beat that for experience.  When I went to check him out he was an adorable little gentleman.  He had excellent ground manners and led very well.  You could pick up all his feet and do pretty much anything with him.  He was already almost 14 hands and destined to be a big boy.  I was smitten.

I knew I had to have this little Appy man and arranged to buy him.  I went back several weeks later and picked him up with my friend (thanks Dana for trailering!).  He walked right on the trailer and didn’t move an inch on his entire journey.  We got him home to my parents and he settled in well.  Such an easy going attitude, I was really pleased with his demeanor.

The first few days he was home...
  Once we moved to the farm the three boys came with us.  They all seemed very pleased to be in their new home and were loving some good runs around the field.  Liam had grown almost a full hand since I had got him and was starting to be quite boisterous with the other two boys.  One morning, I looked out my window while getting dressed for work to see the three of them galloping full tilt towards the front fenceline.  This does not look good.  Archie and William hailed to a halt and Liam was stuck between the two.  With no where to turn as he feared the other two big boys, he went for it and leapt over the 5’ fence in front of him from a halt.  Problem is, he didn’t *quite* clear the fence with his hind end and ended up hanging from his hips off of it.

  I bee lined it outside and had to MacGyver the fence apart to free him.  The entire time he stood absolutely still and even managed to graze while his legs dangled freely.  What a horse.  This was the first but would not be last of Liams adventures.  He jumped into the neighbours field with his goats a few months later and cut his leg apart something awful.  Since he is a such a good boy to be handled, I was able to clean it and wrap it twice a day and it has completely healed up %100.

  He is the epitome of an Appy yearling.  Smart, quiet, well mannered, and a total shit disturber.  Big things in this guys future.

Happy Monday!

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